RESTORATIVE AND HEALING POWER IN FORGIVENESS
GOD HAS A
God says to you, I have a dream. It is a dream of a world where
its ugliness and poverty, war and hostility, greed and harsh
competitiveness, alienation and frustrations, hurries and
worries, bitterness and revenge, vertical and horizontal
disharmonies has discoloured miserably will be changed into a
glorious place where there will be justice and goodness,
compassion and love, caring and sharing, more laughter and more
gladness, joy and peace. I have a dream that swords will be
beaten into plough shares and spears into pruning hooks. And that
your children will know that they are members of one family: the
human family, God's family. In God's family there are no
outsiders, all are insiders. Only unforgiveness excludes us from
this happy family. God wants us to be in partnership with Him in
the actualization of this dream. "It is God who is at work in
you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure". (Phil.
THE SIN OF UNFORGIVENESS: A NIGHTMARE
simply 'to miss the mark'. A failure to attain a goal,
disorientation, a failure to achieve a set objective, a deviation
from God's set plan .A distortion in an original master plan and
design of the world and God's family.
Unforgiveness is a straying and an excluding oneself,
others and God from God's big family. Sin of unforgiveness would
then imply, building of walls where God originally intended to
build a bridge. The sin of unforgiveness creates an obstacle to
the generous flow of God divine cycle of blessing from flowing to
you and through you to others. Unforgiveness like a thousand
knives tearing the beautiful fabric of God's into shreds .A
mortal wound of division between God and oneself, oneself with
the others, and with oneself.
Every sin leads to slavery, but the slavery of
unforgiveness is more deplorable, because you become a prisoner
to yourself and a prisoner to those little things that you were
once their master.
Unforgiveness blocks the fulfillment of the human person
on every level of existence-physical, emotional, psychological,
spiritual and social. Inwardly harming and twisting the person
, destroying human community and rupturing the relationship God
wills to exist between himself and humankind .Thus we exchange
the life and freedom, won for us by Christ for renewed death
and slavery."In all
truth I tell you, everyone who commits sin is
slave. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family
but a son belongs to it forever. (Jn.8:34-36)".
And a slave
of unforgiveness has no voice, no vote, no right, no blessings,
no inheritance, no place and no property because it is
himself/herself now a property. The elder brother of the prodigal
son by his unforgiveness though in the house had nothing. He had
made himself an outsider. For a person becomes a slave of
whatever overcomes him (2pet.2:19) and every slave of whatever
sin has a devil for a father (Jn 8:44) and the devil who is the
father of liar and a thief come only to steal, destroy and kill.
Whoever has sets his life on the path of unforgiveness heads for
Our world is
filled with people with fragile egos and pride. And would not
want to be hurt and when it happens would not want to easily
forgive. So the world is left as open infirmary of the sick
roaming from place to place in search of a healing balm that lies
untapped within them.
I stand to be corrected ;medical records in recent times has
given substantial evidences to the fact that at a deeper level,
emotional dispositions are root causes of major sickness like
heart attacks, strokes and various paralyses, cancer, depression
,mental ailments, high blood pressure, arthritis, deafness,
ulcers, demonic oppressions and suppressions, miscarriages',
premature births and a host of others .Every disorientation in
the inner man changes the inner working of our body chemistry
which would eventually lead to ill-health or a related situation
The moment the
inner man is derailed, the spiritual balance, the physical
alignment and the material cycle of God's blessings is broken;
unforgiveness could beget even actual material poverty.
In fact that is why many of you are weak and ill and some
of you have died (1 cor.11:29- 37).
Here is the
nightmare; unforgiveness and the refusal to receive forgiveness.
The first and the deepest kind of healing that Christ brings to
us is the forgiveness of our sins. Forgiveness is restoration,
reconciliation, re-instatement, it is healing and wholeness. We
are forgiven and made whole so that we can forgive and make
others whole as well. Grant pardon and you will be pardoned.
(Lk.6:36-38). In this dream we are ambassadors for Christ; as if
God were appealing through us .We implore you on behalf of Christ
to be reconciled to God (2 cor.5:18).
There is hope
that this nightmare of unforgiveness and its consequences will
end, because God has some great coworkers, some outstanding
partners. You are God's coworker and He is counting on you
because you are involved: There is a new creation, everything old
has passed away. See! Everything has become new (2 Cor.5:7).
A WOUNDED OR A BROKEN SPIRIT?
In the Bible we read about a
"wounded spirit" and also about a "broken spirit." In some ways
the meaning of these two terms is similar. Both terms indicate
distress. It is possible even that one person may have a wounded
spirit in response to the same situation that results in a broken
spirit for another person.
But the two terms stand in
contrast. First let's consider how they are used in
"The spirit of a man will sustain
his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?" (Proverbs
18:14). The same Hebrew word is translated broken in
Proverbs 17:22, where we read, "...a broken spirit dries up the
bones." The Hebrew word literally means "stricken." In both
verses the NIV says "a crushed spirit."
A wounded spirit is one
that is hurting, but one in which the hurt has festered into
unbearable attitudes and responses. A person with a wounded
spirit lives in inner misery that focuses regularly on his
injuries. Out of this focus come the following "unbearable"
mind-set. The person
with a wounded spirit is preoccupied with past injuries. He views
incidents in life in the worst light. He sees the bad and ignores
the good. His mind is filled with woes, suspicion, and assumption
reasoning. With a
wounded spirit, a person views himself as a sufferer. He can turn
even kind actions of others into additional grievances, into
added pain in his life. He is pleased when others notice his
misery, and hurt when they do not.
mannerisms. Out of a
wounded spirit come sighs, groans, and exclamations that draw
attention to the hurt. There is body language such as shaking the
head, throwing dark looks, facial misery, and slumped
tactics. A person with
a wounded spirit holds other people responsible for the misery in
his life. In truth, others may have done him wrong, but those
wrongs become the means of blaming others. The wounded spirit is
able to cough up old injuries no matter what the present subject.
The stories that are told put others in the worst light. In
addition to direct blame, there are ways of insinuating--giving
details in such a way that worse is implied.
Is it any wonder the proverb
exclaims, "A wounded spirit, who can
bear!" Out of the wound oozes the stench of self-pity,
bitterness, and accusation.
In contrast to this is the
broken spirit. "The sacrifices
of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God,
thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17).
The Hebrew word translated
broken is a strong word. It means "wrecked, shattered,
even crippled or maimed." The Lord delights in the person with a
broken spirit. In Psalm 51, characteristics associated with such
of wrong. A person with
a broken spirit does not make excuses or blame others. He takes
full responsibility for his wrongdoing.
Contrition. A broken spirit produces genuine
Humility. Self-will has been shattered. There is no
attempt to lift oneself up.
God. The person with a
broken spirit has faced his own poverty and sin. He has no
righteousness of his own to promote, but rather, he seeks to know
Teachability. He is done with his own answers to life and is
ready to turn to the Lord for help. He does not want his problem
explained or justified; instead, he wants help to change.
Unworthiness. The person who is broken in spirit does not
demand, he asks. His focus is not on getting all that he deserves
because he knows he has been spared from what he really deserves.
He is grateful instead of complaining. He has tasted mercy, and
he is done with demanding rights.
Much as a wounded spirit makes a
person difficult to live with, a broken spirit makes a person a
joy to be around. He has tenderness in manner, a gratitude for
what others do, humility about himself, and a gentleness in
relating to others who have faults.
God heals the
broken-hearted. He declares that He will dwell "with him also that is of a contrite and humble
spirit" (Isaiah 57:15). When we experience brokenness and
the blessings that follow, we wonder why we resisted such joy and
freedom for so long.
THE NEW AWAKENING TO FORGIVENESS
Matt.6:14-15.If you forgive others their transgressions
your heavenly father will forgive you. But if you do not
forgive others, neither will your heavenly father forgive you
your transgressions. Those who do not forgive are prisoners of
the past but for those who forgive, they are pioneers of an
exciting glorious future. So how often do we forgive?
Then Peter came and said to him ''Lord if my brother sins against
me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times? .Jesus
answered,' I say to you, not seven times, but seventy times seven
times. (Matthew 15:21-22).
What then is
forgiveness? How deep is the implication of forgiveness? If a
wife comes home pregnant out of the matrimonial home, can she be
forgiven? What if a husband comes home with a baby from another
woman should he be forgiven?
relative? Is it a Class courtesy? I will limit myself to the fact
of mutual forgiveness alone, since human forgiveness is both a
consequence of and a condition for our being forgiven by God.
Hence, for sacramental forgiveness by a priest to be effective in
the life of the individual, one of the foundational conditions is
mutual forgiveness. "…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us" (Matt. 6:12).
then a virtue through which we resemble God. A man is never
closer and more akin to God then when he forgives a fellow man.
Forgiveness is the very prerogative of God. Who can forgive sins
but God? To forgive means to extend the mercy of God, which we
experience in our sinfulness, to others who have sinned against
us. It is to give the surplus value of the forgiven debt of sin
we owe God; to those who are indebted to us .It is also an act of
gratitude to God. In the Lord's Prayer we ask God to forgive us
as we have forgiven those who sin against us. What we say in
effect is that if we are unforgiving, God should not forgive
In line with this St. Gregory of Nyssa said:
'Do you want your debts to be forgiven by God? Forgive them
yourself and God will ratify it. For your judgment on your
neighbour, which is in your power, whatever it maybe, will call
forth the corresponding judgment upon you. How can a man habour
anger against his neighbor and seek God's healing? How can one be
unjust and wicked to others and seek God's blessings and
protection? How can we be filled with animosity and hatred and
seek that God will restore our fortunes? An unforgiving man
should not approach a forgiving God. Forgiveness is a great gift,
but it's a penultimate gift. It's intended to prepare us for
something greater .To be reconcile with God, with our neighbour
and with ourselves. Restore to the family of God on earth as a
foretaste of a fuller restoration as children of God, in Christ
in the eternal family of God in heaven.
a decision to be reconciled with the people in your life. Resolve
to set them free and set yourself free .Forgiveness begins with
the will. Forgiveness means restoration to former favours,
(Ex.33:15) to intimate friendship with God.
Forgiveness is the key that unlock the cell of imprisonment
in the hell of unforgiveness.
The act of
forgiveness is a choice, a decision, an act of will and
intellect. It can be cold, and devoid of accompanying warmth,
positive feelings but all the same Genuine. The consoling feeling
may trickle in subsequently.
not forgetting, if you could forget, it is good, but if you
remember the offence, let it be without bitterness.
Some hurts, we may never forget, even though wounds may
heal, scars often remain. But those scars are badges of triumph
and emblems of our victory over devilish cycle of revenge. Above
all remember to forgive yourself as well. Life is too short and
too precious to waste being trapped and bound in the chains of
unforgiveness .When we forgive, this promise becomes true for us;
And now, I am freeing you from the fetters that bind your
Forgiveness requires that we take
account. How we wronged others and how deeply they may have
wronged us. We must hold dearly too that we must not always look
to the Offender for healing, restitution, or compensation or we
will only be more wounded. The one who has caused the pain does
not have the means to repay the debt or remove the pain from our
lives. We must cast our burdens upon the Lord and lay them at the
foot of the Cross. He alone can make them light and make the yoke
easy to bear. Remember what God promised: "And I will restore to
you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the
caterpillar, and the palmerworm. (Joel 2:25-26).
means allowing the God in me acknowledge the God in you.
1. You have
been wronged. The other person apologizes and seeks forgiveness
2. You have
been wronged. The other person does not acknowledge the wrongful
act and does not ask for forgiveness.
3. You have
been wronged. You do not know who did it. You do not know whom to
blame or who you might forgive.
4. You have
done wrong. You acknowledge what you have done and you seek
forgiveness from the other person.
5. You have
done wrong. You justify what you have done and do not seek
6. You have
done wrong. You acknowledge to yourself that what you have done
is wrong, but you do not dare tell anyone or seek
7. Wrong has
been done. All parties involved justify what they have done, and
no one seeks forgiveness.
8. Wrong has
been done. Some people on both sides acknowledge responsibility
and seek forgiveness, while others do not.
9. Wrong has
been done. It was an act of fate. No one is to blame, but still
some people feel guilty and seek forgiveness while others feel
angry and seek revenge.
nine basic categories in which forgiveness may be sought or
granted can help in sorting out areas needing forgiveness in your
own life, discussing with an experienced person or a Clergy and
lifting it up to God in prayers, and thereby freeing oneself from
being slaves to our own hatred.
OF FORGIVENESS: RESTORATION AND HEALING
II in Reconciliatio et Paenitentia (35) says:
It must be
recalled that this reconciliation with God leads as it were to
other reconciliations, which repairs the other breaches caused by
sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his
inmost being where he regains his innermost truth. He reconciled
with his brethren, whom he has offended and wounded. He is
reconciled with the church. He is reconciled with all
the purpose and effects of forgiveness is the restoration of the
dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of
which the most precious is friendship with God.
edition of the concise Oxford Dictionary defines, Restoration as
the process of bringing back to the original owner a precious
right, situation, former condition or position of that person. In
its adjectival form, Restoration is having the ability to restore
health, strength or a feeling of well-being. Instance are; the
return of a monarch to a throne, a head of state to government or
a regime to power.
In this, the
stories of Joseph in the Old Testament would be our guide on how
forgiveness brings restoration. The story of the prodigal son in
the New Testament on how being forgiven restores.
Joseph had a dream and God in that dream was going to make him a
greater ruler, this led to jealousy that ended him a slave in
Betrayed, sold into slavery, falsely accused, forgotten in
prison, he was only sustained by faith in that dream. He had
every reason to be angry, bitter, and resentful and even destroy
himself by self pity and despair but he did not.
true situation makes us "bitter or better" it is your choice,
whichever. How did Joseph respond; he forgave his brothers and
God made him a great ruler even in the land of his slavery,
restored him to his family.
He had this
testimony of restoration from forgiveness.
"Do not be
afraid, for I am not in God's place as a judge. You meant to harm
and hurt me, but GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD .His purpose was to bring
life to many people so do not be afraid; I will take care of you
and your Children. In this way Joseph, comforted them and spoke
kindly to their hearts. (Gen.50:19-21).
Lesson from the life of the prodigal son (Lk: 15).He opened
himself to confidence and as a consequence was restored to
wholeness: His father ordered forgiveness;
"Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him, put a ring on
his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and
slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this
son of mine was dead, and has come to life again, he was lost and
has now been found. (Lk: 15:22-24).
time we open up ourselves to receive forgiveness mutually or
sacramentally God makes a restoration. He wears us again the robe
of honour, the ring of inheritance, and the foot wear of
prestige. It is like an investiture by which God's year of favour
the vision of Zechariah God said "take off his dirty clothes and
dress him in the splendid robes and put a turban on his head.
…and the Angel stood by and said: See, I have taken your guilt
forgiven and to accept forgiveness is to accept an invitation to
Joy. A joyful banquet of restoration is set as a table for your
inauguration. Blessed then are those who are invited to the
wedding feast of the Lamb. (Rev.19:9)
In Sirach 28:3
"Should a man nourish anger against his fellows and expect
healing from the Lord?"
In our lives
there are always about four areas of healing.
healing (of sin and concupiscence)
healing (psychological and Emotional)
healing (Bodily sickness)
one has found that most sins do not block God's healing power to
the extent as does a lack of forgiveness. The deeper roots of
sickness are first emotional and spiritual, and forgiveness is
both spiritual and emotional thing.
heals through (1) Natural and (2) Supernatural means; it is as
yet a fact that all forms of perfect Healing begins from the
Doctors as well
know that they cannot Heal, they only assist the natural healing
powers already in the body, they re-activate the Healing
The channels of
God's healing if blocked by hurt and bitterness that healing may
not flow in us or through us. To every physical healing it is
often wise to seek first an inner healing.
The moral laws
of God are just firmly fixed as the physical laws. If you
displace one the others are displaced equally. How true, that
lands where we drill oil are not productive farmlands so too the
balance of body, spirit and soul would make Healing much more
effective. Unforgiveness is always the clog in the wheel of that
forgiveness which was an inside thing brought an outer reaction
unto physical Healing.
In Lk. 13:
10-17 a woman crippled for 18 yrs was healed and she stood erect,
In Lk. 5: 17-25
Jesus first forgave the paralytic before his physical healing of
the question was asked; who sinned, this man or his parents,
which he was born blind? Most sickness could have some connection
with sin and forgiveness.
experiences may be, Jesus is set to heal the entire person, body,
soul and spirit.
Healing through the act of forgiveness, a restoration of inner
balances and dynamics sets the stage for Outer Physical
to forgiveness is an invitation to joy, an invitation to be part
of the fulfillment and realization of God's Dream. An invitation
to obtain a saving remedy for our estrangement from God and
neighbour in order that this restorative and healing powers of
forgiveness may truly achieve its meaningful root in our whole
lives and move us to fervent service of God and neighbour.
Father, I choose to forgive everyone in my life including myself,
because you have forgiven me.
I forgive my
Mother for any negativity and unlove she may have extended to me
throughout my life. For all the times she preferred others to
I forgive my
Father for any lack of love, time and companionship for all the
abuses, deprivations and unsatisfying Father's blessing I forgive
I forgive my
Brothers and sisters for rejection, lying about me, resenting me,
refusing to assist me; I release them from bondage and set them
I forgive my
spouse for lack of love, consideration, communication and
betrayals, for all the wounds of relationship, I
I forgive my
children for any hurt, lack of respect, disobedience, soiling the
family name, falling away from the church. I forgive
extend forgiveness to my in-laws for all their words and actions
that injured and caused me pain.
For all my
Relatives and Friends, Living or Dead. I forgive them.
I forgive my
Co-workers, Employers, the Church, Teachers and Professional
people whose thoughts, words, actions and decisions have hurt me
badly, I forgive them.
the One Person in my life that has hurt me the Most.
there anyone I need to forgive…….
Jesus that I am being freed of the evil of unforgiveness I now
Pray a blessing on those who have hurt me. Lord, do something
Special for each of them today. Thank you Lord. Amen
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